As war, natural disasters, and economic instability wreak havoc across the globe. People are forced to migrate for survival, safety, and opportunities for a better life. Migration happens within countries and across borders.
In recent decades, Indonesia has become an important transit point for asylum-seekers. There are 9,000 refugees and 5,300 asylum seekers in Indonesia, according to UNHCR, and more than half are from Afghanistan. Over the years, they, like others fleeing their homes due to conflict — from Iraq, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan — have found themselves stuck in Indonesia as they wait to obtain asylum in another country. As they wait in Indonesia, they remain stateless and denied their rights such as their ability to work, study, or move about freely.
In 2013, Muzafar Ali and Khadim Dai, both refugees in Indonesia, worked with a small group of refugees and started a learning centre in Indonesia. There were rules against refugees being involved in any organized activity, but they knew that education was a human right and nobody could stop them. The refugee men were scared, but when the women in the community agreed to teach, the Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre (CRLC) was born. Since it opened, CRLC has become a beacon of hope to the thousands of refugees trapped indefinitely in Indonesia. CRLC has 20 volunteer refugee teachers and nearly 300 students; other refugee communities in Indonesia were inspired to establish learning centres in their communities. There are now over 1700 refugees engaged in education in Indonesia (UNHCR Report, Dec 2018).
When CRLC connected with GO Campaign, they were renting a small house to use as a school, greatly limiting the capacity. There was a waitlist of 80 refugee children hopeful for the opportunity to attend school. Children on the list had to wait for a student to leave the school for a spot to open. Through GO Campaign, CRLC was able to rent the property adjacent to the school, doubling their capacity as well as creating a computer lab at the new location. The computer lab will provide their secondary school students and the community with the opportunity to engage in online learning opportunities at the college level.
Funds are still needed to ensure that CRLC continues to operate and address the needs of the growing refugee community in Indonesia. Join us in supporting the efforts of these two amazing Local Heroes. The amazing story of CRLC is captured in the documentary, The Staging Post. You can watch the trailer below and learn more here.